Sunday, April 22, 2018

Visioning: A walk through the Fruitville Initiative

Here's an image of the NW sector of the Fruitville Initiative seen at night -- I-75 is visible upper left:

The buildings and streets aren't yet actually there - they exist as a detailed plan and vision experienced thanks to a remarkable planning tool developed by Sarasota-based Hoyt Architects.

In the video clips below, Gary Hoyt offers a tour this portion of the coming Fruitville Initiative - through his firm's proprietary software.

A walk in the Fruitville Initiative

Fruitville Initiative NW

This segment of the special planning area at the Fruitville Interchange (I-75 exit 209) contains approximately 40 acres bounded by the Interstate on the West, Fruitville Rd. on the south, Coburn Rd. to the east, and Richardson Road to the north.

The plan illustrated in the video exhibits a mixed-use area free of big box stores and the usual highway franchise restaurants. The master plan brings local employers, residences, a market area featuring a variety of local food vendors, open areas for parks and recreation, all situated within in a grid of streets promoting small town walkability and ease of access.

Hoyt's software is built on a gaming platform that enables users to navigate an area that is digitally constructed according to actual land configurations and architectural designs. One can vary the light, weather, traffic, density of foot traffic, type of vehicles, building structures and much more at the touch of a button, exploring like a drone, or even entering buildings and taking an elevator to a particular floor.

This powerful tool will eventually enable communities to explore various scenarios for public lands, parks and conservation areas, and to experience various contingencies of traffic, lighting, and weather.

Hoyt made the presentation to members of the executive council of Fresh Start, a citizens' effort to develop a community-based plan for public lands near the Celery Fields, a priceless natural birding and recreation area in Sarasota County.

The proponents of Fresh Start learned much from the efforts of all involved in the Fruitville Initiative, and will make their presentation to the County Commission for a public vision of uses near the Celery Fields on Wednesday April 25 at 9 a.m.

Looking west from the Celery Fields mound

Trees on the mound were planted with funds raised
by Sarasota Audubon

The Fruitville Initiative was developed in 2010-2011 through a collaborative process that brought together residents of the Fruitville area, County staff from planning and other departments, and owners of undeveloped property at the northeast and southeast quadrants of Fruitville Rd. at the Interstate.

A special area plan (SPA3) came out of the Fruitville Initiative process, and was formalized by County Ordinance 2014-057 in 2014.

While some landowners within the Initiative area are moving ahead, other portions have lagged behind. The county sold 42 acres of land east and south of the Fruitville Library to Benderson Development in 2015. Benderson has yet to break ground, and recently obtained an extension that apparently released it from a contractual obligation to aim for a high end (class A) level of tenants.

Street with fountain and landscaping from the Future Fruitville Initiative

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